Venison and parsnip tagine with buttered herb couscous
- February 2016
- Serves 4-6
- Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 3½-4 hours
The combination of slow-cooked venison with Middle Eastern herbs and spices makes this an impressive dinner party recipe. Perfect as a seasonal main for the winter months.
If you have some venison, then you might also like to try it as an alternative to beef in a venison ragù with tagliatelle.
- 17.7g (7.6g saturated)
- 56.3g (21.2g sugars)
For the tagine
- Olive oil for frying
- 1kg diced venison
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 large bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 1tsp ras el hanout (a Middle Eastern spice mix, widely available)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 6 parsnips, chopped into chunks
- 8 dried figs, peeled, quartered
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 500ml fresh beef stock, plus extra to loosen
- Pomegranate molasses to serve
For the couscous
- 200g couscous
- 260ml freshly boiled water
- 60g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
- Small bunch each fresh coriander and leaves picked, stems very finely chopped
- For the tagine, heat a glug of oil in a large, deep casserole over a high heat. Add half the venison and fry for 5-6 minutes, turning, until browned. Remove to a plate using tongs or a slotted spoon, then repeat with the rest, adding more oil if needed. Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3.
- Turn down the heat to low and add the onion, garlic and chopped coriander. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the ras el hanout and ground spices and cook for another minute.
- Add the parsnips, dried figs, tinned tomatoes and beef stock along with the venison and resting juices, then bring to the boil, stirring to combine. Cover with a cartouche and a lid, then cook in the oven for 3½-4 hours until the venison is falling apart. Don’t let the tagine dry out – check it after 3 hours and add 250ml hot stock/water if it looks dry.
- When the venison is ready, put the couscous in a large bowl, pour in the boiled water, then cover with cling film. Put the butter and salt in a small frying pan and heat gently until the butter is foaming, stirring to dissolve the salt. Fluff the couscous with a fork, then pour over the hot butter and mix in the herbs, reserving a few coriander leaves. Sprinkle the tagine with pomegranate seeds, the reserved coriander leaves and a good drizzle of pomegranate molasses, then serve with the couscous.
Seasonal venison works well here with its gamey richness, but stewing beef would make a good alternative.
Make the tagine up to 3 days in advance. Cool and keep covered in the fridge. Or cook, then cool and freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month. You may need to add a splash of stock or water when reheating, to loosen. Serve piping hot.
If using a slow cooker, make the recipe to the end of step 2, scraping up any burnt bits off the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker, including the reserved venison and resting juices, but only use half a tin of tomatoes and 250ml beef stock. Cook for 4 hours.
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